Have you ever heard of Ashley Madison? It’s a company that helps married people cheat on their spouses. Sounds crazy, right?
In 2015, Reuters reported that Ashley Madison had 37 million clients. This was at the same time that someone hacked their system and exposed all the names.
The exposed data uncovered information belonging to people of all classes, races, genders and positions. It was a stark reminder that anyone can give in to infidelity and everyone who does must face the devastating consequences.
Marriage is a beautiful gift from God. It is valuable far beyond anything material. Just as we work to protect our possessions, so we must do everything within our power with God’s help to safeguard our marriage.
The following 8 practices will help you protect your marriage from infidelity.
1. Avoid confiding in a member of the opposite sex about your marriage.
On the surface, this may seem harmless, but it is not. In fact, most of the couples I know that have had an affair started this way.
Why? When you tell a person of the opposite sex about your marriage issues you are creating an emotional bond that is unique to you and that person. You are letting them into a part of your heart that is private. Before long, that person becomes the one you go to for emotional support and comfort.
This makes you vulnerable and before you know it, you begin depending on this person for more than just a shoulder to cry on. Your emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy.
So who do you talk to when you have marriage issues? I love what Kevin Thompson says about this. He advises that you should only talk to 2 people:
1. A person who can help (i.e. pastor, spiritual leader, counselor) and 2. A person who it can help. In the case of #2, this is usually further down the road when God uses your experience to help someone else who is going through a similar thing.
2. Share all passwords with your spouse.
Anyone who knows me knows I love social media. Our ability to connect with people in this day and age is amazing! This is especially good for finding old friends, that is unless that friend was once someone you dated.
I recently watched a marriage blow up after a good friend’s wife found her old boyfriend on Facebook. One thing led to another and before we knew it she was publicly proclaiming that it was God’s will for her to divorce her present husband so she could live happily ever after with this guy.
She justified her behavior by saying that she initially married the wrong person and was just making things right. Not surprisingly, the man she left her husband for was also married and saying the same thing to his wife and circle of friends.
3. Think about the consequences of infidelity.
This may sound very elementary but it needs to be said. A guy who starts to flirt with one of the girls at work doesn’t usually sit and think, “If I continue down this road, I will end my marriage, hurt my wife and children, and throw away much of what I’ve worked toward having my whole life.”
For many reasons, we are often blinded by our sin. We only think about gratifying our own desires and we believe the lie that it won’t affect anyone else. Wrong!
4. Make regular time to talk to your spouse.
Life is complex and it tends to move fast, especially after you start having kids. In my home, if it’s not scheduled it doesn’t happen. Cheryl and I usually catch up late at night after our kids go to bed.
It’s important for us to tell each other about our day. Remember the bond that is created when you confide in another person? It is a deep emotional connection between a husband and wife that is created when a relationship is built on honor, respect, and kindness.
Talking to your spouse strengthens that special bond you have with them. Marriages that lack this emotional bond experience what is called an intimacy vacuum. When a married person finds themselves in this situation, it only seems natural to try to fill it.
5. Don’t overestimate your strength.
1 Cor. 10:12 says, “Don’t be so naïve and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”
As soon as you begin to think, “This would never happen to me. My situation is different.” Your guard has come down. This is pride, plain and simple.
Pride has a way of making us forget where our strength comes from. Instead of trusting in God, we lean on our own strength.
Remember, Samson? Samson had incredible supernatural strength from God. The Bible tells us that he tore apart a lion with his bare hands and he killed 1000 men with the jawbone of a donkey. That’s strength!
While his body was strong, his character was weak and this left him vulnerable to the enemy and eventually led to his demise. Don’t overestimate your strength. God gives grace to the humble.
6. Guard your thoughts.
Have you ever heard someone say, “You can look, but you can’t touch.” This statement is false because it ignores the truth of how sin is born in a person’s heart.
James 1:14-15 clearly shows us where sin starts and where it ends. It says, “…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Sin begins with your thoughts. If you find yourself lusting after another man or woman than your spouse, it should be a warning sign to you. Jesus even took it to the next level when he said that lusting in your heart is the same as committing adultery (Matt. 5:28).
Guard your thoughts because they most often precede your future behavior.
7. Have sex with your spouse regularly.
One of the biggest lies our society tells us about sex is that it’s simply a physical act. To the contrary, the Bible tells us in Genesis 2:24 that a man and woman become one flesh. The word for “flesh” used in this verse refers to a person’s whole being. It goes far beyond the physical.
Sex is a gift from God to a husband and wife to experience the maximum closeness. It creates a bond in a marriage that nothing else can.
It seems that, in general, the number of times married couples have sex becomes less the longer they are together. Much of this has to do with the busyness of raising children and juggling jobs and other activities. If that’s you, I want to encourage you to schedule sex with your spouse. Think about it. We put things on our calendar that are important to us. When push comes to shove, the things we plan to do get done.
8. Walk closely with God.
I cannot underestimate the importance of this one. There is a direct connection between your walk with God and any relationships you have, especially your marriage. In fact, the Bible tells us that our marriages need to be a reflection of Christ’s relationship with us, His bride.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
The cross is a wonderful symbol of our relationship with God and others. Its vertical beam represents our relationship with God and its horizontal beam our relationship with others. Just as the horizontal beam depends on the vertical beam, so do our relationships with others depend on our relationship with God.
Wrapping it up
I hope this post has challenged you and compelled you to take things to the next level in your pursuit of a healthy relationship with your spouse. Remember, you can’t do these things on your own. Ask God for his strength and commit your relationship with your spouse to God every day.
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